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This is Only a Test: St. Louis County Tornado Sirens To Be Re-checked This Week

The county is putting some sirens through follow up tests due to feedback from residents.

St. Louis County has announced it will re-test 18 of its new tornado sirens during the week of Jan. 9-13. The one-minute tests will be performed between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

On Monday, Jan. 2, all 185 of the sirens in the new system were tested. Each of the 18 sirens to be tested this week generated ; under the old system, they could hear them.

Callers reported the same issues after the Labor Day test in 2011.

Where are the sirens?

The sirens in question are scattered across St. Louis County. The county's  announcement didn't say which sirens would be tested starting Monday. Its website has a map that shows all 185 sirens in the system.

“We need to ensure that the 18 sirens perform as they’re supposed to perform,” explained David Barney, director of the county’s Emergency Communications Commission. “Each of the 18 will be individually tested and adjusted accordingly, if necessary.

“However, we want to emphasize that these sirens are designed to be heard outdoors. If residents can’t hear them when they’re in the basement, that doesn’t necessarily mean the siren is malfunctioning,” he said.

Test or the real thing?

Before a siren is activated, “This is only a test,” will be announced from the device about to be tested.

In an actual emergency, the sirens would wail continuously for three minutes. Their activation is an alert that a tornado or tornadoes are approaching the region, and residents need to take cover immediately.

The exception to this is the first Monday of every month, at 11 a.m., when the sirens are tested.

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